Mexican PRI party leader quits before election
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Caught up in a corruption scandal, the leader of Mexico’s leading opposition party resigned on Friday, just seven months before national elections in which his candidate is favored by a wide margin.
Humberto Moreira, who became president of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) president in March of this year, was under pressure to resign for contracting irregularities during his administration as governor in the northern state of Coahuila. He is accused of falsifying documents relating to that state’s public debt, which shot up 344% during his watch.
“Today I’m here to tell you that I resign as president of the party’s National Executive Committee”, Moreira announced to a group of PRI officials. “I will not permit a media war to damage my party”… “I also do so because I have confidence in one man who is the hope of Mexico: Enrique Peña Nieto”, he said.
Before the scandal erupted, Moreira, 45, was a key figure in the push to restore the PRI to the power it held for 71 years, until 2000. The next election is scheduled for July 1, 2012. PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto is currently polling in the lead with a 25% lead over the second contender.
Moreira will be temporarily replaced by PRI general secretary Cristina Diaz, but Senator Pedro Coldwell is expected to be his successor according to party officials.